Only 310 of every 1,000 sexual assaults are ever reported to the police. The sexual assault victims who do report don’t always report immediately. While there is no time expiration for filing a police report, Virginia laws do impose statutes of limitations for civil and criminal prosecution of sexual assault cases.
Statutes of limitations require plaintiffs to initiate a lawsuit within a certain period of time after the sexual assault has occurred. The time requirement depends upon the facts of the sexual assault, the age of the victim at the time of the assault, and whether the lawsuit is civil or criminal.
The Statutes of Limitations for civil cases of sexual assault
The statutes of limitations for civil cases are determined by the age of the victim at the time of the sexual assault and the date that the assault occurred:
- 2-Year Statute of Limitations applies if the victim was 18 years or older at the time of the assault and the assault occurred before July 1, 2020
- 10-Year Statute of Limitations applies if the victim was 18 years or older at the time of the assault and the assault occurred after July 1, 2020
- 20-Year Statute of Limitations applies if the victim was a minor or incapacitated person at the time of the assault
The Statutes of Limitations for criminal cases of sexual assault
The statutes of limitations for criminal cases consider the age of the victim at the time of the sexual assault and whether the sexual assault qualifies as a misdemeanor or a felony:
- 1-Year Statute of Limitations applies for misdemeanor sexual assaults, like sexual battery.
- Felony charges, like rape, can be prosecuted at any time, and there is no statute of limitations.
- Statutes of Limitations for crimes against minor sexual assault victims, like carnal knowledge, expire on the victim’s 19th or 21st birthday, depending on the facts of the case.
Time is always of the essence, as memories fade, evidence disappears, and people move away [Link to “I Was Sexually Assaulted. Now What Should I Do?”]. If you or a friend or family member has been the victim of sexual assault, don’t delay justice. The statutes of limitations impose deadlines for filing lawsuits, but the sooner you speak with a sexual assault attorney, the more time the attorney will have to collect evidence and build your case.
We’re here to help. Make a free and confidential call to Allen & Allen today at 866-378-2724.